In desperate need of Tex-Mex I hit the streets of London, following the smell of frying tortillas and peppery salsa… and the directions on google maps. I had been intending to eat at Wahaca, the cool hang out of the moment, but having seen the queue and the hour wait I moved on. Luckily I knew Café Pacifico, located next to one of my favourite bars in Covent Garden’s Langley Street.
Everything about Café Pacifico is authentic Mexican; on 5 May they even had a Mariachi band to entertain the diners. It’s bustling and noisy. All of the tables were full and a crowd was lined up along the bar. The fun and lively atmosphere makes this the perfect place for groups and celebrations. It was also a really hot evening and the shutters were thrown open, I really could have been in a Mexican side street!
…hot sauce left, right and centre…
As far as the food was concerned, Café Pacifico ticked all the boxes. The table was stacked with complimentary tortilla chips and dip and the menu was graced with all the classics, as well as some modern Mexican specials such as seabass fillet in banana leaves; and duck, scallop and tamarind fajitas. Between us we ordered onion rings with a fiery, smoked jalapeño chilli mayonnaise dip, chicken chimichanga, beef enchiladas, a burrito and nachos layered with cheese, guacamole and tonnes of sour cream.
All of the plates were sizzling and there were bottles of hot sauce left, right and centre if you wanted to add some extra spice to the night. I was too full up to order deserts but the celebration mud pie, serving 6 to 8 people, and the deep fried vanilla, coconut and mango ice cream were definitely intriguing options.
Wine starts at £15 a bottle and bottles of corona are £3.75.
The prices aren’t particularly cheap, averaging between £10 and £17 for a main meal, but you are in central London. If you go at lunch time, there is a cheaper menu offering tacos, burritos, chili and meatballs for around £6. Alternatively, if you fancy grabbing a snack at the bar, you can opt for taco platters or lobster and papaya quesadillas. Wine starts at £15 a bottle and bottles of corona are £3.75. If you want to be more adventurous, there is a range of vanilla, fresh fruit and spiced mojitos which looked particularly refreshing. Claiming to have served 8 million margaritas since 1976, I’m sure they must be doing something right with their drinks menu!
Café Pacifico and La Perla restaurant-bars are found in select locations in London, Paris and Sydney. So, no matter where you are, there really is no excuse for not taking the opportunity to sample this little taste of Mexico!